By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
Those few remaining political idealists who don’t believe that high elective office can be bought on the open market might want to look at what is happening in this year’s governor’s race in Kentucky.
As of last week, nearly $30 million had been spent or committed to be spent for television ads and other campaign messaging in the hotly contested race between Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, and State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Republican nominee.
The most recent gubernatorial campaign was in 2019 when Beshear narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin by less than 5,000 votes statewide.
In comparison, that race involved campaign spending of more than $9 million total by both parties. Importantly, less than half of that amount was considered “dark money” from the various and nefarious political action committees.
I prefer the term “nefarious” because that means “extremely wicked or villainous” and too many of those shadowy PACs are linked to wealthy persons and groups with ulterior motives contrary to traditional American values, in my opinion.
It’s called “dark money” because no PAC is required to identify the individuals, corporations and other organizations which provide the seemingly unlimited amounts of cold, hard cash.
All too often those organizations go for vicious “attack” messages like the pro-Cameron ad last week – financed by a PAC linked to Sen. Rand Paul – which included a likeness of one of the governor’s young daughters in an ad criticizing Beshear’s handling of the COVID pandemic.
Befitting a good father and a highly principled public servant, Beshear demanded that the ad be pulled from the airwaves.
Sadly, this gusher of “dark money” into politics here and elsewhere is a result of the infamous Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 that political contributions of any amount or source are a form of free speech, therefore protected by the U. S. Constitution.
To their everlasting discredit, the Republican Party advocated and cheered that decision to put our government up for sale to the highest bidder.
(Contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org).